Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What is a minority business enterprise (MBE)?
A Minority Business Enterprises is a business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more racial or ethnic minority individuals. For the purposes of the Kentucky MWBE program, racial or ethnic minority group members are African American, Hispanic American, Asian Pacific American, Subcontinent Asian American or Native American.

2. What is a women business enterprise (WBE)?
A Women Business Enterprise is a business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women.

3. Can my business qualify as both a MBE and a WBE?
Yes. To qualify as both a MBE and a WBE, a woman must also qualify as a racial or ethnic minority group member. In addition to other eligibility requirements, the woman must hold at least 51% ownership and control of the business. (Note: racial or ethnic minority group categories are African American, Hispanic American, Asian Pacific American, Subcontinent Asian American or Native American.)

4. Does certification as a MBE or WBE also qualify my business to do business with the Commonwealth of Kentucky?
No, the registration required to bid on state procurement opportunities is a separate process. To register as a vendor, visit the Kentucky Vendor Self Service (VSS) system: https://emars.ky.gov/online/vss/AltSelfService. If you need assistance, contact the Customer Resource Center by email at Finance.CRCGroup@ky.gov or by phone 502-564-9641 or toll-free 877-973-HELP (4357). The Help Desk is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. EST.

5. If my business is certified as a MBE or a WBE by a governmental entity in another state, is certification by the Commonwealth of Kentucky automatic?
No. You must submit the Kentucky application and all required documents for review. Approval is not guaranteed. Your application will be reviewed on its individual merits.

6. If my business is certified as a MBE, WBE or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) by another certifying entity in Kentucky, is certification by the Commonwealth of Kentucky automatic?
No. You must submit the Kentucky application and all required documents for review. Approval is not guaranteed. Your application will be reviewed on its individual merits.

7. I own more than one company. Will this certification apply to all of them?
No. The certification applies to the business and not to the individual woman or racial or ethnic minority group member. Applicants must apply for certification as a MBE or a WBE for each business separately.

8. How long will it take to process my application for certification?
Upon receipt of a complete application, the process takes approximately 120 days. A complete application includes responses to all questions, all required signatures and notarization and all required documents. (Note: the 120-day timeframe is an approximation; some applications
require less processing time while other applications require additional processing time.)

9. What is an onsite review/visit?
The onsite visit is a verbal and visual confirmation of the MBE or WBE applicant’s ownership, management and control of the business. The MBE or WBE applicant(s) must be prepared for the visit by having all required documentation available for inspection and possible reproduction during the onsite visit (refer to the certification application, Section VIII, B for a list of documents that must be available during the onsite visit). In addition, the applicant(s) must answer any and all questions posed by Finance and Administration Cabinet personnel conducting the onsite visit. The onsite visit is mandatory and must be conducted every three years as part of the recertification process (or more frequently if deemed appropriate by the Finance and Administration Cabinet). Onsite visits are scheduled with the applicant(s) in advance.

10. My business is located in my home. Am I still required to have an onsite review/visit?
Yes. An onsite visit is mandatory for each business that applies for certification.

11. How long is my certification valid?
Certifications issued by the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Office of EEO and Contract Compliance are valid for three (3) years from the date of issuance. However, if there are any changes in ownership, management, control, size or, in the case of out-of-state businesses, certification status, the business must immediately notify the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Office of EEO and Contract Compliance in writing. The Finance and Administration Cabinet, Office of EEO and Contract Compliance will evaluate the changes, request any additional information and schedule an onsite review/visit (as appropriate) to determine whether the business remains eligible to participate in the Kentucky MWBE program. Annually on the anniversary of the certification date, each certified business shall send a document to the FAC representing there have been no material changes to the business that would disqualify it from the certification program. Failure to submit the form could jeopardize the business’s approval status in the MWBE certification program.

12. Are there any length-of-time in business requirements applicants must meet before applying for certification as a MBE or WBE?
Yes. The minority or women owners must have owned and operated the Business for at least a full year (365 days) either calendar or fiscal. The minority or women owners must have filed a Business tax return consisting of a full year (365 days), either calendar or fiscal.

13. The principal office for my business is not located in Kentucky. Can I apply for certification in the Kentucky MWBE Program?
The Finance and Administration Cabinet, Office of EEO and Contract Compliance is unable to certify out- of-state businesses that do not have an existing certification from a governmental entity in the state where the principal place of business is located. For businesses relying on out-of-state certification as a basis for their eligibility to be certified by the Kentucky MWBE Certification Program, please note that certification in the Kentucky MWBE Program is contingent upon that business maintaining the out-of-state certification. If the business loses its certification in the state where the principal place of business is located, the business must immediately notify the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Office of EEO and Contract Compliance in writing.

14. What if I have questions or need help when completing the application?
If you have questions, contact the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Office of EEO and
Contract Compliance at 502-564-8099; for the hearing impaired, please call the Kentucky Relay Service at 800-648-6056 or 711. Email inquiries can be sent to: Finance.MWBE@ky.gov.

15. Can Non-Profit Organizations apply for certification in the Kentucky MWBE Program?
Yes. Please contact the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Office of EEO/Contract Compliance at 502-564-8099 or Finance.MWBE@ky.gov for assistance and further instructions.